It is called the HY-KERS, and is the star of the Prancing Horse’s Geneva Motor Show stand. It boasts a stack of ‘green’ technology, most of which has been transferred from the company’s Formula One racing cars.
Beneath the skin, it boasts what is, at 20mm, an extremely slim lithium-ion battery pack, mounted between the floorpan and aerodynamic undertray. A new Ferrari-developed electric motor is positioned beneath the boot floor, coupled to the 599’s dual-clutch seven-speed gearbox.
The 100bhp unit boosts the 620bhp 6.0-litre V12’s output to a storming 720bhp and increases total torque by 150Nm to around 750Nm. Under braking it acts as a generator, using the kinetic energy produced to recharge the batteries.
A new start-stop system is teamed with the hybrid powertrain, and Ferrari estimates CO2 emissions are reduced from 415g/km to around 250g/km. Meanwhile, fuel economy increases from 15.8mpg to an anticipated 22mpg. Crucially, though, the HY-KERS is not only more efficient than the standard car, it’s faster and even better to drive.
The hybrid system adds 80kg to the weight of the vehicle. However, together with the boost in power and torque – Ferrari says that it aimed to offset every extra kilogram by a gain of at least 1bhp – the HY-KERS covers 0-124mph in a mere 10.4 seconds (that’s 0.6 seconds faster). It’s not only straight-line speed which has been improved – driving dynamics have as well.
The F1 influence is apparent in the electric motor which cuts in automatically during acceleration, providing instantaneous torque when moving away from a standstill and during overtaking manoeuvres. This enhances traction and braking, too. As with the F1 KERS system, Ferrari says drivers can be given the option of a steering wheel-mounted button to boost performance when required.
However, don’t expect a hybrid 599 to be available any time soon. The technology is so advanced that Ferrari estimates if it was to put the HY-KERS on sale now, the car would cost £400,000 – which is twice as much as the standard 599.
Meanwhile, Ferrari will make stop-start available on the California convertible this month. It boosts fuel economy by six per cent. The system will be rolled out across the range in the coming years.